An Open Letter to NH State Senator Bob Odell

Dear Mr. Odell,

Early this year I wrote to you in the hopes that you would advocate for New Hampshire’s public university system.  I spoke to you of my first hand experiences dealing with uneducated co-workers who lacked critical thinking and reading comprehension skills, at a company which still struggles to this day (just recently laying off all of its backend management staff).  In contrast, at my new position at KSC, an extremely successful and efficiently well run business in addition to being an excellent public liberal arts college, my college-educated colleagues excel in critical thinking, time-management, and reading comprehension, in addition to many other intangibles which make them well rounded employees any company would be glad to hire.  I wrote to you in the hopes that you would see the folly in slashing almost 50% of the USNH budget at a critical time in NH’s economic recovery, especially after colleges have already sent out tuition packages for the year.
Perhaps I was wrong to put my faith in you, Mr. Odell.  Even though I am a Democrat, I voted to re-elect you to the Senate last November.  I had thought I had seen in you a reasonable legislator not affected by partisanship or by Tea Party silliness, but someone truly interested in his constituents’ needs, someone who could look past his party line to make sound investment choices with my hard earned tax money.
It appears, given the recommendation by the Finance Committee of which you are not only a member but the Vice Chair, to not only uphold the House’s politically motivated slashing of the USNH budget by 45 percent but to remove an additional 3 million, that I was badly mistaken.
Mr. Odell, the students have gone home for the summer.  We said goodbye to many of them hoping we would see them again in the fall.  If this budget is passed, many of them will not be able to afford to.  Some who may be able to afford to may take their tuition dollars elsewhere rather than pay more for less.   They may go to some other State which values education more.  And then they’ll stay there.  Companies looking for an educated workforce will follow them.  That’s bad for NH’s future economic viability.
Mr. Odell, NH’s economy depends on people. More importantly, it  needs an educated workforce willing to stay in the state.  What incentive does a 45% cut in the public education system give me and my family to stay in NH?  Especially if I end up losing my job because of it?  Oddly, Mr. Odell, I am more interested in being able to educate my children and being employed than keeping my tax bill down.  If I have to, I will do both of those things somewhere else.
Put simply, Mr. Odell, an uneducated workforce is an unemployed workforce.  And a State which does not value and fund its public education as a crucial part of its investment in future economic viability is a State I am ashamed to live in.
It truly baffles me, Mr. Odell, that the NH Republican Party bears such ill-will towards the public education system  to the point of not only refusing to fund it equitably by introducing a more fair tax structure such as an income or sales tax, but actually working actively to defund it entirely.
Perhaps I should have known better, back in November.   Rest assured I will not vote for you, or any other Republican, who cannot make the wise choice to invest in NH’s future.   Unlike the NH House and the NH Senate, I never make the same mistake twice.
Yours respectfully,

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